Playing catch isn't always as easy as it looks.
Stephanie Vanni found herself directly in front of the goalie just seconds into Sierra's Valley Oak League deciding contest with Weston Ranch. Vanni knew exactly what to do, pounding the Timberwolves' first attempt into the net for an instant 1-0 lead and a smooth path to a 5-0 win and the squads second consecutive league championship.
CERES – After battling the best singles players in the Valley Oak League for the regular season, Manteca High's Alex McAdams and Alex Barragan teamed up for a quality ride, outlasting some 20-plus doubles teams for the VOL doubles championship Thursday at Ceres High.
There wasn't anything left but pride at stake by the time East Union and Manteca kicked off their final Valley Oak League match of the season Thursday night at Guss Schmiedt Field.
Things weren't looking good for Steven Gigli after he turned the ball over to East Union head coach Dan Triglia in the third inning and made the short walk from the mound to shortstop.
The East Union Lancers seem to have no respect of their opponents' capabilities, destroying their second consecutive Valley Oak league opponent by nine runs with the Lancers' 9-0 win over the visiting Weston Ranch Cougars Thursday.
RIPON – The Ripon Christian Knights scored two in the first for a quick lead and wouldn't surrender it, holding off a late Modesto Christian rally for a 5-2 Trans Valley League win Thursday.
East Union's Zach Carrillo came a base on balls and a hits batsman away from a perfect game, dominating the Ceres Bulldogs in a 7-0 Valley Oak League win for the Lancers Thursday.
RIPON – Ripon High's Ryan Durrer came to the plate as the winning run in the bottom of the seventh inning, but could not hand the Escalon Cougars their first loss in over a month, striking out and sending Escalon home with a 6-4 Trans Valley League win.
Oakdale High junior Brianna Parker completed her string of dominance against Manteca schools in a big way.
It did not take the Sierra Timberwolves too long to take care of the visiting Central Valley Hawks, securing the Valley Oak League win with a five-run fifth inning to clip the Hawks for good Wednesday.
RIVERBANK – The Ripon Christian soccer program saw a season's worth of dedication pay off in a major way Wednesday when the Knights outlasted the Riverbank Bruins for a 1-0 Trans Valley League win.
ANGELS CAMP – There was a lot to be determined in Tuesday's Valley Oak League Championships at Greenhorn Creek, and East Union's Kyle Harman proved to be the key factor, capturing the VOL's Most Valuable Player award and leading the Lancers to a co-championship with Oakdale High with a 4 over par round of 76.
COPPEROPOLIS - Andrew Bonner did not win the Trans Valley League's year-end golf tournament at Saddle Creek Golf Course as expected.
CERES - There were no surprises at the Valley Oak League Singles Tournament Tuesday at Central Valley High.
Midway through the season, East Union was languishing in the middle of the pack, searching for a foothold in the Sac-Joaquin Section playoff chase.
LATHROP – Captain Yaneli Avila is revered for her quiet leadership on the soccer field.
STOCKTON – For the Weston Ranch boys basketball team, the season will finish just as it began – on the road.
Scott Thomason broke from tradition at the start of the basketball season.
Manteca boys basketball coach Brett Lewis feels like the bounces are going the Buffaloes' way as of late.
Daniel Ruiz made five straight free throws in the final minute, 30 seconds, helping host Golden West edge previously-undefeated Sequoia 48-47 in Tuesday's thrilling Manteca Unified Student Trust small-school boys basketball championship game.
The Manteca girls basketball team's stumble to the finish line ultimately cost it a berth to the Sac-Joaquin Section playoffs.
LATHROP - Dylan Gross scored 11 of his game-high 13 points in the second half to lead the Woodward Mustangs to a 43-36 win over the Mossdale Jaguars on Tuesday in the Manteca Unified Student Trust Large School Boys Basketball Championship at Mossdale School.
Sierra is the boys Valley Oak League basketball champion for the fourth time in as many years, and as a result of Tuesday's 84-48 thumping of visiting Lathrop the Timberwolves are a perfect 14-0 for the second time in that same stretch.
Four Ripon players were recognized on senior night Tuesday, and they had more reason to celebrate following the Indians' 36-27 triumph over Escalon.
Anand Hundal once again came up short of his first career triple-double in Manteca High's 69-37 shellacking of visiting Oakdale in a regular-season finale Tuesday.
East Union is peaking at just the right time.
RIPON - Rod Wright could sense this loss was coming.
RIPON - Ripon Christian players jumped off their seats on the sideline and joined the five Knights on the court to celebrate their clinching of the Trans-Valley League outright title Friday night.
There will be little drama in the Valley Oak and Trans-Valley leagues tonight when the regular season comes to a close for Manteca area boys and girls basketball teams.